Looking Up In Chattanooga – Hamilton Co. Courthouse

Hamilton Country Tennessee plans 100-year courthouse anniversary next year.

Recently, on a walk downtown, I snapped some photos of the courthouse.  It was not the first courthouse on the site, another building burned there after serving only 31 years.

In 1879, a striking new courthouse was erected on the hill by Georgia Avenue, Walnut Street and Sixth and Seventh Streets. Featuring a 6,000-pound clock in an ornate four-sided tower, marble-top wash stands and large potbelly stoves, it was considered a masterpiece.

This courthouse burned on May 8, 1910 when lightning struck its clock tower at 9:40 p.m. Though engulfed in fire, the tower clock struck 10 p.m. on the dot as its final hail to Chattanooga before tumbling to the ground in a mass of charred metal.

On June 21, 1911, county officials selected Reuben Harrison Hunt as the architect for the new courthouse, to be built on the same site. The current courthouse celebrated its grand opening on November 22, 1913. A full band played outside throughout the day and then moved to the assembly hall on the third story, where the Clerk and Master’s office is located. During the speeches that followed, one judge said the courthouse would “serve its people for half a century.”

The Hamilton County Courthouse has already doubled its life expectancy and is still going strong. To honor the work of the man who created a building that has provided “unmeasurable” service to its county, the court is on the National Register of Historic Places.

* Hamilton County Herald

I also took photos of an old tree which recently made the news when it fell after heavy rains. I got married under this tree fifteen ago, but that is not the reason I photographed it (I’m divorced). I photographed it because it is such as beautiful tree with so much character. The loss of this extraordinary tree is actually mourned by the city.

County Mourns Fall Of Landmark Courthouse Tree

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